Run Report #168 – 14th July by Roger Pangbourne

What a morning!:

  • The sun shone down on us (again!);
  • We had a new female course record;
  • Unfortunately we had a hospital casualty; and
  • A record number for the yoga!

More of all that later, but first as we reach the summer holidays, many our regular volunteers, especially our Duke of Edinburgh volunteers are taking well-earned holidays with their loved ones, so the volunteer roster provides an opportunity to show some different names in lights.

The overriding message is that there’s nothing to worry about as we will always provide full training, so here is a little run down of each of our volunteer roles to help you determine which you’d like to try out:

Run Director / Results Processor / Equipment Storage:  No need to worry about these as they are always done by someone from the Core Team of RDs.

First Timers Briefing x1: An important role to brief tourists or people completely new to parkrun about the key rules and the course route. A script is provided, but the role is usually reserved for more experienced runners / volunteers.

Funnel Manager x2 (a 3rd is often useful):  One ensures people are moving, in order through the finish to collect a finish token and beyond and the other keeps a little backup record to help in case there is a results problem by jotting down the times and runner details for approximately every 20th runner or so.

Timekeeper x2:  A focused, but straightforward role - pressing the stopwatch for every runner that crosses the finish.

Finish Tokens x2:  Handing out the finish tokens to all the finishers - ensuring they are given out in order.

Barcode Scanning x3: After runners have finished and collected their tokens, they queue for the scanners who scan the runner's personal barcode (returning this) and then their finish token and dropping the finish token into a bucket.  Any unscannables are sent to the ...

Volunteer Co-ordinator / Number Checker x1:  The Number Checker role is to jot down the details of any barcodes that will not scan. If people have forgotten their barcode or only have it on their phone, I'm afraid the rule is "No barcode; no time" (because it's so important for the smooth running of the event and also holds important emergency information) - there are usually only a handful of barcodes that don't scan.  The Volunteer Co-ordinator part of the role is to move up and down the barcode queues / chat to other finishers and ask if anyone would like to volunteer to fill gaps in the future roster.  Asking before we start is also a good opportunity to take down a few names.

Token Sorter x1:  A lovely little role for after the parkrun - usually reserved for people newer to parkrun and often for people who don't initially see themselves as runners, but want to see some of the social side of parkrun - simply sorting the tokens after the event back into the correct numeric order ready for the next event and flagging any apparent missing tokens - takes around 20-30 minutes after the event.

Marshal x 4 (we never turn away extra marshals):  Four are the minimum to meet our H&S requirements, but you'll have probably seen many more Marshal points around the course.  An important role to help the spirit of parkrun by encouraging runners, but also understanding what to do in the event of any incident – a mobile phone is required so the RD can be quickly contacted if necessary.

Sign Language Support x1: Optional if you have BSL skills to assist by signing with the RD briefing.

VI Guide:  Supports our visually impaired runners - we have several trained VI guides – email us or ask one of the RDs if you would like to become a VI guide.

Tail Walker x2 (can be more occasionally):  Walk at the rear of the parkrun to ensure that 'nobody is last'.  Informs the Marshals when they are on their last lap so the Marshals can pack up and return any items to the start (e.g. all will have hi-viz tops to return).  If the last runner / walker drops out, the Tail Walkers should be capable (where possible) to catch up the next last runner / walker.  Usually the tail walker comes in around 50-60 minutes.

Pacers x4-8:  We normally aim to have 4 times run each week, separated by around 4-minute intervals - and if there is demand, we usually try to pair up pacers, so one can run steadily and the other perhaps run a little ahead to incentivise quicker runners or drop back to encourage those to catch up who may have dropped back a little.

Run Report Writer x1: Fancy popping a few words down about: Your run; your volunteering experience; your touristing experience; a statistical drill down of the results; what parkrun has meant to you and your life or any related topic?  Long or short; personal or generic - we don't mind, just send us your Run Report within a few days of parkrun and we’ll publish it onto the website and add a Facebook link.

Now you know the roles, please email us or drop us a comment on Facebook and let us know which role and when you’d like to help out.  Thanks in advance.


Back to this weekend’s parkrun:  Congratulations to all 325 parkrunners and our 30 volunteers without whom the magic just wouldn't happen.

Huge congratulations to our new female course record holder tumbling the record from 18:26 to 17:36.  Quite a few established athletes choose not to record every one of their parkrun times as they show their form to other competitors in the track racing world, so we respect your right to not be scanned and the record holder will be shown as ‘Unknown ATHLETE (F)’ until it’s broken again!

We’ve already mentioned the casualty from this weekend – we’re pleased that the casualty is on the mend and understand the parkrunner who bumped into the casualty (who did stop at the time) has asked to be put in touch with the casualty to check on her wellbeing – thank you.  As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to say in Hill Street Blues:  “Let’s be careful out there”!

More congratulations to:

  • 12 completely new parkrunners – Welcome to parkrun – hope to see you again and again.
  • 19 tourist first timers – Hope you enjoyed our little run in Welland Park.
  • 46 of you who achieved PBs – How you did that in the heat, I’m not quite sure!
  • 60+ people who joined the ‘Yoga in the Park’ after parkrun – I may have to join in myself soon!  Paul will be running the Yoga for the remaining 2 Saturdays of July.
  • Everyone else I haven’t mentioned – look forward to seeing you again next weekend if possible.

Until next time.